April second was supposed to be the date of my Vancouver book launch, a time to gather with friends and family and celebrate the culmination of years of hard work. Obviously that didn’t happen.
For my last book launch, I ordered the books late and then spent several sleepless nights worried they wouldn’t arrive on time. This year I decided to be organized and ordered them well in advance. Suddenly I found myself facing isolation with fifty copies of the same book.
When I mentioned my situation on Facebook and asked if anyone wanted me to send them a book, the response was overwhelming. I am so grateful to everyone who reached out.
Anyone with the misfortune to be launching a book right now knows how wrong this whole situation feels—like we’ve dropped our work down a hole and are watching it get smaller and smaller until it disappears. Publishers are doing everything they can, and I’d like to believe more people are reading while they’re stuck indoors—but I suspect the Netflix numbers tell a different story.
I’m busy writing a new novel, and every day I sit down to work on it feels like a vote of hope for the future, because—what is the future of publishing? Most of the biggest publishers are in New York City. How many new books will they be taking a chance on in the coming year? And some of the smallest publishers were barely surviving before the pandemic hit. Will they still exist? How about independent bookstores?
My daughter has adopted a wonderful practice in Toronto: twice a week she chooses a small restaurant that is still open for delivery and makes a point of ordering dinner from them to support them. I have started doing the same here in Vancouver.
It occurs to me this practice could also be applied to books, authors, and independent bookstores.
If you want books to still be a thing in our post-pandemic world, please: buy them. And maybe see if you can buy them from independent booksellers, because Amazon will be just fine, thank you.
Here are some links to writers I know whose work is coming out right now (including the opening photo which I couldn’t find a link to, but if you’re interested, just contact me and I’ll arrange to get you a copy). Look them up: they’re all great. Tell your friends.
What better way to spend these weeks of isolation than with a bunch of good books?